Connor Bedard is two months from his 18th birthday and doesn’t officially have an NHL team, but he just drove a surge in Chicago Blackhawks’ season-ticket sales.
The Blackhawks secured the No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft and are widely expected to use it on Bedard, a generational prospect in Canada’s Western Hockey League who has drawn comparisons to superstars like Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid. Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon said that Bedard’s shot release “is one of the best in the world now.”
Though the draft is on June 28, Bedard is already changing the Blackhawks’ fortunes.
Within 12 hours of securing the top pick, the team had sold $5.2 million in season-ticket packages, including 1,200 full-season plans.
The Blackhawks, who tied for the second-worst record in the NHL in the 2022-23 season, filled the United Center to 83.7% capacity across 41 home games — good for third-worst in the 32-team league.
The team measured a bit better by average attendance, ranking 20th with an average crowd of 17,167.
The Blackhawks’ draft lottery win was announced on the jumbotron at Monday’s Chicago Cubs game to cheers, while a “Let’s Go, Blackhawks!” chant briefly broke out at a Chicago White Sox game that same night.